After reading a fabulous post by RD Robyn Coale on the dairy dilemma, I thought I would try going dairy-free for as long as I could manage and see how I felt.
My family is the type to have an after dinner cheese plate instead of dessert, so there’s no way this will be permanent, but I like the way Robyn encouraged to eat less dairy. Putting cheese on your salad or adding that slice of mild cheddar to your sandwich is one thing. Having a slice of St. Agur on a piece of pear is quite another. (Mmm… blue cheese.) So though it’s been a challenge to avoid old cheddar, manchego and aged gouda, I’ve found it’s actually been much easier than I thought to avoid dairy of any other type.
The first step was to revamp my breakfast that I eat every morning when I get into work. Since November 2012, almost every day at work I’ll have a scoop of greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of All Bran Buds and either a banana or 1/2 cup of another fruit. (On the weekends this is my favourite breakfast and still dairy free!)
Enter, overnight oats or, bircher muesli.
The texture can be a challenge for some (chia seeds puff out overnight) but I love the taste. It’s hearty like oatmeal, but it’s much easier to bring to the office. Plus, it’s a cinch to make! Throw the ingredients in a mason jar overnight and presto! You’ve got breakfast for the morning.
RECPIE: Overnight Oats
(Adapted from Chatelaine’s healthy muesli recipe)
1 cup of oats
1/2 banana, thinly chopped
1 1/2 cups of almond milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp hemp hearts
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla extract
A dash of lemon juice
1/4 cup of all bran buds to sprinkle on top right before eating (nice crunch)
1/2 cup of a fruit of your choice on top before eating
The combinations are endless. For an extra protein punch, I suggest adding 1 tbsp of almond butter (I have Justin’s right now and it tastes unreal), peanut butter or sunflower seed butter.
You can also switch up the vanilla extract for some coconut extract, or add a scoop of my new favourite thing, Cultured Coconut Milk from So Delicious. That’s a fancy name for dairy-free yogurt. The taste is like a sugar-free, fat free regular yogurt in comparison to a heavier, creamy greek yogurt. I like it! It’s got the heft of yogurt without the dairy and for those coconut haters, it tastes nothing like coconut at all (much to my disappointment, actually). I got the blueberry flavour and it was delicious.
If you’re at your grocery store looking for any of the above (like hemp hearts) you’ll find that the cost is pretty significant. I’d suggest heading over to your local Bulk Barn! Plus, they offer a student and senior discount Wednesdays.